I’ve come to a realization, though. Basic Skills competitions are about skating, sure, but the lessons are larger than that.
- How to prepare for a competition. Basic Skills competitions help skaters understand what to expect at a competition, what to bring, and how to act.
- How to deal with losing. Not everyone will place first all the time. Judges are different, days are different, and some skaters are just better. This is all good. How will your skater deal with disappointment? What words can you say when you think she should have received first, but received fourth instead?
- How to deal with winning. Sometimes your skater will place first. I’ve seen first-place skaters jump up and down and shout “In your face!” Not classy. Learning how to win gracefully is just as important as learning how to lose.
- How to deal with unfairness. Is your skater in a group of eight when groups are supposed to be limited to six competitors? Is your skater skating against a kid twice her age? Is there a skater in the group who is obviously “skating down” several levels? Well, parents, these things happen, especially at Basic Skills competitions.
Instead of whining about how it could be more fair, I’ve decided to smile and teach Ice Girl how to deal with inequities. Let’s face it: in any sport you’ll find bad calls, teams that needlessly run up the score, and crummy refs. Skating isn’t any different.
- Competitions are about character. Sure, your skater needs to have figure skating skills, but the jumps and spins are what practice and lessons are all about. Your skater’s not going to the competition to perfect her Salchow, but to perform it. That’s a mental game. Competitions favor kids with a strong mental game, a good attitude, and a positive outlook.